How Long Does It Take?
I am going to visit my cousins in Luxembourg in exactly 6 months, I've been on Duolingo for 1-2 hours a day. Do any of you guys think it's possible to reach fluency in that 6 months?
Here's a personal story that may help.
Quite a few years ago I was planning a trip to Croatia. It was the first time I was traveling to a country where I didn't speak the language, and I had a small child with food allergies. I spent every free moment - literally every free moment - for four months learning Croatian. I listened to tapes as I walked to the bus. I had flashcards on my desk so I could glance over any time my mind wandered at work. I studied phrases on my lunch break. I did grammar exercises at home.
On top of this, I paid extra attention to the topic I was most interested in - food and food allergies.
At this point I was already an experienced language learner. I'd completed a minor in German. I already spoke Esperanto at C1 or higher (although I didn't take the test till MANY years later.) I'd probably dabbled in learning several other languages... I was highly motivated for the safety of my child.
After these 4 months, I was was able to have a fluent conversation with a waiter about what was in the various food items on the menu. My American friend who met me for dinner was very impressed. We determined that nothing on the menu would be suitable for my son - so we talked about some options that were NOT on the menu. We ordered him something. My son fell asleep and did not eat it.
After that, I was always among people who spoke Esperanto or German and I never spoke Croatian again. I have forgotten just about everything. So - can you become fluent in 6 months? Yes - if you don't limit yourself to Duolingo, pick specific topics to become fluent in, and work VERY hard.
I also (just today) put up a video about my decision to learn Spanish. It's meant to be the first in a series (maybe two) about my journey in Spanish and on general language learning tips. I'd like to interact more with learners of all sorts of language for friendly competition and mutual encouragement, so I hope you can check it out and leave a comment there.
I'm from Montenegro and all I can say is those eastern European Slavic countries really are hidden gems. But thank you so much on your motivation, it means a lot to me!
Hey Eldin, depending on how hard you try, I think you can get to at least a little over an intermediate level in that time.
But don't depend only on Duolingo. Are you learning Luxembourgish? If so, don't depend fully on whatever other resources you're using.
Use more than one resource, and I recommend looking for YouTube channels teaching the language you're learning, and especially exercise your speaking skills, because you'll need it more than anything else.
I also highly recommend reading books in their language. And even if you have to look up every second word, you will get the hang of it pretty quick. Try getting books you've already read in English, that will give you a good head-start.
Good luck, and have fun in Luxembourg!! :D
I agree with Dessert-Rose but also add that reading children's novels is easier. The vocabulary tends to repeat. I have read most of Harry Potter in Spanish and I read Pippi Longstocking in Norwegian, even though I had just begun Norwegian.
Luxembourg? Oh, you are in for a ride. They have their own language of course, Luxembourgish, which developed from a dialect of German. German itself is also an official language and used in a lot of media. On the other hand French is the language for legal, administrative and business stuff. For example in court: The laws are in written and cited in French, the talking is done in Luxembourgish, but the protocol is written in German!
Anyway, for any language you decide to learn: Duolingo is only covering the beginner levels. It will give you the level to understand easier texts (like a newspaper), but you won't be able to have a real conversation. There are just no suitable exercises here to practice free speaking.
Thanks man, I really enjoy your help! And yes, I am very familiar with Luxembourg and how odd their languages are, even in their public schools kids use 3-4 languages on a daily basis
I will be honest, I think it is difficult to become totally fluent in 6 months, but you will learn a lot and you can have conversations, understand menus etc. I recommend you take a grammar book, and a phrase book. If you can you can hire a tutor once or twice a week, I like italki, and there are other German courses online that I think work very well with Duolingo such as dw.com Nicosweg, it is a very complete course and the Memrise official German courses. Have fun while learning the language.